The UN confirmed today that Croatia became the fifteenth country to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions by depositing its legal instrument at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday 18 August .
As a survivor of Cluster Munition and Ban Advocate this was a really good news for me and first reaction was "thumbs up" for Croatia. Globally looking Croatia is a small country, we don't have some major impact on international level and our stockpile is small and as much as some bigger "players" could find Croatian ratification insignificant I have to say that this was a big step forward for this region. Delicate political situation on a Balkan due to the resent wars is something that we have to live every day and peace is not to be taken for granted. By this ratification Croatia is clearly showing that we do "mean business" when we are talking long term peace keeping in this region and that we are willing to take first step in removing all that can be consider as a threat by our neighbours.
Refusing a weapon as horrible as this, banning it completely is not just a military thing between two countries, it is a way that Croatian government is showing respect for all citizens of our neighbouring countries, telling them that every one of them, every living soul is important and we cherish every life, and that's why we have to ban Cluster Munitions because 98% of recorded casualties are civilians. What Croatia signed is not a contract between countries, governments .... it's a contract between Croatia and citizens of neighbourly countries telling them "we wont harm you, be safe, feel safe, live safe". By removing the threat you remove reason for conflict. My greatest hope is that our neighbours will recognize the significance of this and that they will follow in doing the same thing. When they do (and I'm not saying "if" I'm saying "when" because I believe they will) ... when they sign Convention on Cluster Munitions stability in our region will increase more and this will become even more beautiful place to live.
To whoever is considering themselves to be a small country or is categorizing someone else as a small or insignificant, this is how a small country can have a global impact, by taking a first step and signing the treaty but also by making an example to others. We can't choose our neighbours, but we can chose how to communicate with them. Banning the Cluster Munitions is excellent way to build up trust and respect between countries. Croatia was in war not so long ago, Cluster Munitions was used in that war, all of us (and by that I mean countries in this region) have it but Croatia decided to ban it. Croatia didn't fall in a trap, vicious circle "our neighbours have it, we need it to protect our self". Hope that other will realise that that is not good enough excuse for not signing. Cluster Munitions is not a efficient weapon, not in military terms, because 98% of recorded cluster munition casualties are civilians. Just last week in Zadar civilian found two bomblest 40 meters from his home. We are talking about urban area, the bomblest were found near the houses, church and children's playground. Luckily they didn't go off, and police was able to remove them safely. And it's been 15 years since the war. So by keeping this weapon who are you targeting? Don't answer that, just sign the Convention on Cluster Munition.